Professor Mike Wright

Associate Director

Mike is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London. At the ERC he leads the research theme on finance and governance. His research interests include entrepreneurship, family businesses, entrepreneurial finance and governance.

Biography

Professor Mike Wright is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Imperial College London. At the ERC he leads the research theme on finance and governance. His research interests include entrepreneurship, family businesses, entrepreneurial finance and governance.  He is editor elect of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and a member of the BVCA Research Advisory Board. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Ghent.

He has held major research grants from financial institutions and national and international research agencies totalling almost £4 million for studies in the areas of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance and governance.  These grants have resulted in numerous reports for research funders,  extensive media coverage (including Financial Times, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, etc.), and leading international journal articles for academic and more applied audiences (such as Review of Economics and Statistics, Economic Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, JBV, ETP, California Management Review, Harvard Business Review, etc.)

Research Paper

Waves of Professionalization Before, During and After Management Buyouts and Buy-ins of Private Family Firms. Research Paper No 37

We explore the process of professionalization pre- and post- buyout (MBO) or buyin (MBI) of former private family firms using longitudinal evidence from six UK family firms undergoing an MBO/I in 1998. Professionalization behaviour was monitored up to 2014. Previous studies have conceptualized professionalization as a threshold to be attained. We demonstrate that professionalization is a complex process occurring in waves, triggered by changes in firm ownership and management. Waves of professionalization converge during the MBO/I process. Buyouts provide a funnelling mechanism enabling diverse control
systems to be standardized. Post-MBO/I, divergence in the professionalization process reoccurs contingent on firm-specific contexts. Professionalization focuses on operations when stewardship relationships predominate, but on agency control mechanisms when there is increased potential for agency costs. Buyout organizational form is an important transitory phase facilitating the professionalization process. Professionalization is not a once for all development stage.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
Research Paper

Resources and innovation in family businesses: The Janus-face of family socio-emotional preferences. Research Paper No 34

ERC Research Paper No 34. Resources and innovation in family businesses:The Janus-face of family socio-emotional preferences.

Family business socio-emotional preferences are often Janus-faced: Some strive to create a strong business they can pass on to offspring by building innovation-promoting resources such as human, relational and financial capital. Other family firms cater to family desires for unqualified nepotism, altruism towards undeserving kin, and appropriation of firm assets to fulfill parochial desires that erode these resources.
We explore how some such preferences, together with their impact on resources and the innovation demands of their markets, shape the approach to innovation.

Associated Themes
Research Paper

Understanding the social role of entrepreneurship. Research Paper No 33

There is a need to rethink and redefine the social value added of entrepreneurial activities to society. In this paper we develop five pillars on which the evolving social role of entrepreneurship can rest and have its impact: (1) connecting entrepreneurial activities to other societal efforts aimed at improving the quality of life, achieving progress, and enriching human existence; (2) identifying ways to reduce the dysfunctional effects of entrepreneurial activities on stakeholders; (3) redefining the scope of entrepreneurial activities as a scholarly arena; (4) recognizing entrepreneurship’s social multiplier; and (5) pursuing blended value at the organizational level, centring on balancing the creation of financial, social and environmental wealth. In a final section we discuss implications for practices and for further research.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
Research Paper

Academic entrepreneurship: time for a rethink? Research Paper No 32

Academic entrepreneurship, which refers to efforts undertaken by universities to promote commercialization on campus and in surrounding regions of the university, has changed dramatically in recent years. Two key consequences of this change are that more stakeholders have become involved in academic entrepreneurship and that universities have become more “strategic” in their approach to this activity. We assert that the time is ripe to rethink academic entrepreneurship. Specifically, theoretical and empirical research on academic entrepreneurship needs to take account of these changes, so as to improve the rigor and relevance of future studies on this topic. We outline such a framework and provide examples of key research questions that need to be addressed to broaden our understanding of academic entrepreneurship.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
Research Paper

The origin of spin-offs – A typology of corporate and academic spin-offs. Research Paper No 26

We provide a typology of corporate and academic spin-off types, distinguishing spin-offs involving new ventures from those that concern existing activities. We summarize the papers published in this special issue, relating them to the typology we develop. We conclude by developing an agenda for further research on spin-offs.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
Research Paper

ERC Research Paper. Creating Value in Ecosystems. Research Paper No 22

CREATING VALUE IN ECOSYSTEMS:CROSSING THE CHASM BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE AND BUSINESS ECOSYSTEMS

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
Insight

Financing Growth

Recent ERC research provides new insights into bank borrowing among UK SMEs and emphasises the potential value of effective company boards in helping firms to access appropriate finance. The evidence suggests that only around 1 in 7 small businesses in the UK seek bank funding. Yet we know that firms which do utilise external finance grow more rapidly. As the upswing takes hold what can be done to encourage more small firms to seek external finance to support their growth? Recent ERC research provides some of the answers and highlights other ‘known unknowns’.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
Research Paper

Private Equity, Buy-outs, and Insolvency Risk. Research Paper No 8.

Private Equity restructuring using debt has been criticised for increasing financial distress and bankruptcy. This paper compares the insolvency hazard of various buy-out types within the corporate population and investigates the risk profile of the companies pre-buyout.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
Research Paper

Business Survival and the Role of Boards. Research Paper No 1.

This paper examines the question of whether family firms are more likely to survive than non-family firms, focusing on the role of board composition.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme
White Paper

What Do We Know About The Relationship Between Entrepreneurial Finance and Growth? White Paper No 4.

This paper explores what we know about the relationship between entrepreneurial finance and growth in SMEs in the UK.

Associated Themes
  • Finance and Governance Research Theme